Now that the weather is well on its way to summer warmth, many boat owners have started to think about what they need to do for this season’s excursions. Most of the time, you can’t just hit the water and think you have every type of protection and assistance you need. Instead, you’ll need to plan ahead. What are some of the things you need to consider?
In principle, you want to keep yourself and your family safe from the many hazards that might strike you during a boating excursion. Of course, you will need boat insurance to help you out. Still, you might think of insurance as an indirect benefit that you’ll only use occasionally. Nevertheless, it’s still important to you. But on top of that, you will also need to keep other, more direct, safety steps in mind.
Personal Safety Risks on Boats
Human beings are not natural water dwellers. That is why we need boats to begin with. More importantly, we need safe, secure vessels. There are so many potential safety risks on boats that it is almost impossible to list them all. Just a few of these include:
- Sinking and collision risks
- Malfunctions that destroy the boat, including risks like storms or fires
- Theft risks
- Sun-injury risks
- Injury risks from various water toys
Of course, on top of these and other risks is the risk of drowning and other injuries wrought by water. So, if the boat fails, you have to have other safety mechanisms available because there might be little you can do to keep the water out. Therefore, your priority when protecting your family on the boat should be to keep the water in its proper place. Keep a few of the following security considerations in mind.
Special Boating Insurance Considerations
Boating insurance is a critical investment for nearly every boater. It can help you afford to repair the boat and clean up other messes following damaging accidents. However, it also can provide crucial personal protection to you and your passengers. When setting up your policy, consider adding a few of these unique policy elements:
- Guest passenger liability insurance: If you let a guest drive your boat, such as a family member or friend, this coverage can protect them in case they cause an accident. Because their actions in your boat might harm a third party, coverage can help you cover the third party’s damage costs.
- Medical payments coverage: This protection can help you pay for the medical costs of you and your passengers. It does not replace health insurance, but it can often provide supplementary help if you or one of your family members gets hurt.
- Personal effects/gadget insurance: Many boat insurance policies don’t cover possessions that are not attached to the boat. However, you might want things like your fishing gear, coolers and navigational equipment. It might also cover also personal effects from home that you bring aboard.
On one hand, you must keep a well-functioning boat at all times. Wear and tear, of course, might lead to sudden, even fatal occurrences. However, you also have to protect your passengers directly.
In theory, you don’t want to have to file a claim on your boat insurance, even though it exists to help you. Frequent claims, after all, might lead to higher risks and higher insurance premiums. Therefore, the more gear you have on hand to protect your passengers, the more you might be able to prevent someone from getting hurt.
- Life preservers and life jackets are mandatory. No one, especially children and older adults, should go without them. They must fit appropriately. Many states have laws that require most or all boat passengers to wear life jackets, just as they require seat belts.
- Most boaters should carry several additional life preservers than those needed. Many also carry an emergency raft.
- It is always a good idea to carry a first-aid kit on the vessel. It should include standard materials, not to mention those specific to boaters, like seasickness pills.
- Of course, always make sure you have a few essentials for comfort as well. These might include things like sunscreen, snacks and water. You don’t someone to get hurt from an injury that won’t qualify for insurance claim.
Check out: 5 Ways to Keep Your Family Safe on the Water This Summer
Many of your significant safety items might not apply directly to your passengers, but they can help you nevertheless. Certain necessary items might include:
- Emergency radios and transmitters
- Flares and searchlights
- Bilge pumps and emergency pumps
- An emergency siren
- A portable generator for emergency electricity
Should you encounter an emergency situation, you will likely have a safety checklist that you’ll need to follow. In many cases, you can also contact water-borne emergency services. These might include everyone from your local police force to the U.S. Coast Guard.
With the appropriate care, you can make sure your family has safety protections when you plan an excursion this summer. Consider these items to be mandatory parts of your overall safety plans.
Also Read: Does Your Fishing Equipment Have Insurance Coverage?